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What is a Substance Use Disorder?

A substance use disorder is a health condition that leaves a person incapable of controlling their cravings for substance use, no matter the consequences. An individual experiencing a substance use disorder will find themselves struggling to focus on much else outside of figuring out how they can get their next dose.  

This can cause issues in every single area of their life, including their relationships, career, health, and happiness. Despite these issues, the person will find themselves unable to stop using on their own.

Coping with a Substance Use Disorder

The most important thing a person can do when facing a substance use disorder is to seek the help of a support group, like Alcoholics Anonymous or similar types of groups, or of a health professional. Addiction can be difficult to face on your own, and in some cases, the risks that come with withdrawal are quite dangerous. Rehab programs will usually offer a mix of one-on-one and group support, either in the community or in a residential setting, to help individuals gain sobriety. In some cases, medical observation will be necessary to help someone withdraw safely from a substance, and sometimes medications can also help to maintain sobriety.

Substance Use Disorders rarely occur in isolation, and many people who suffer from an addiction will also be struggling with other mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Getting treatment for these conditions is very important to improve someone’s chances of overcoming their addiction and addressing their underlying struggles. Speaking to a health professional is the best way to get started to address these issues.

The first step to recovery is admitting that there is a problem. Addiction is a difficult thing to deal with. It can feel lonely, frightening, and like the whole world has turned against you. Fortunately, you don’t have to face it alone. Talk to your doctor, reach out to support groups, and vent to a friend. Don’t struggle in silence. You will get through this.

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